Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Unusual news: Danish air force compensates Santa after fighter jets scare reindeer to death
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - The Danish Air Force said Thursday it paid the equivalent of about $5,880 Cdn in compensation to a part-time Santa Claus whose reindeer died of heart failure when two fighter jets roared over his farm.
The animal, named Rudolf, was grazing peacefully at the central Denmark farm of Olavi Nikkanoff when the screaming F-16 jets passed overhead at low altitude in February.
The reindeer collapsed and died, leaving Nikkanoff with the prospect of only one animal pulling his sleigh next Christmas.
He complained to the air force, which agreed to compensate him for the cost of the reindeer and veterinary expenses.
"We got a letter from Santa complaining about his reindeer's death and looked into it seriously," air force spokesman Capt. Morten Jensen said.
The air force checked flight data and veterinary reports and concluded the planes had likely caused the animal's death.
"We're more than happy to pay if it means that children around the world will get their presents," Jensen said.
Nikkanoff said he was satisfied with the compensation and would use it to buy a new reindeer before Christmas.
Shhhh, don't tell my kids that the real Rudolph dropped dead from fright.